The Boyertown 11U Advanced Play team completed a dominant week at the Cal Ripken Experience Aberdeen, winning the Battle of the Chesapeake Tournament to conclude their 2022 season on the highest of notes.
The tournament started with four pool play games, all of which the Bears won convincingly. They bested their first opponent, Valley Venom, 11-3. Pitching and hitting were key in this matchup, with Ryan W going 3-3 with 2 RBI at the plate and joining Sam S and Alexander F on the hill to hold Valley Venom to only two hits. Game two against Island Trees Bulldogs was even more lopsided - a 15-0 win for the Bears. The Bears tallied a breathtaking 17 hits in only four innings, with every player recording a walk or a hit. Connor W led all hitters, going 3-3 with 2 RBI. Ryan W went the distance on the bump, holding the Bulldogs to three hits in the shutout. The Bears' run production continued to increase in game four, a 16-2 victory over East Coast Lumberjacks. Connor W and Will S both went 3-3 with 4 RBI each for the Bears. With the one seed on the line, the Bears delivered in the final pool play game, downing the East End Aviators 10-0. Alexander F and Liam H pitched a combined two-hitter, and four Bears had multiple hits (Ryan W, Austin B, Sam S, and Alexander F).
The Bears entered the playoffs as the one seed, having scored 52 runs while only allowing 5 across their four pool play games. They kept the offense humming in a 19-9 shootout with All American Red, the eight seed. After All American Red scored a run in the top of the first, the Bears responded with a six-run outburst in the bottom of the inning. Austin B got things started with a one-out single. Sam S walked and Connor W singled to load the bases for Cole C, who stroked a line drive single to right to tie the game at 1. Liam H was hit by pitch to put the Bears up 2-1 and they didn't stop there. After two more runners scored on passed balls, Will S doubled to drive in Liam and put the Bears up 5-1. Another run scored on a passed ball to complete the productive bottom of the first. Lest the Bears think this game would be another lopsided outcome, All American Red answered with six straight hits to tie the game 6-6 in the top of the second. The Bears would retake the lead in the bottom of the second 7-6, only to lose it on a two-run top of the third. Trailing for the first time in the tournament, Boyertown did not flinch, scoring three in the bottom of the third to retake the lead 10-8. Cole C started the key inning with an infield single. After stealing second, he was sacrificed to third by Liam H and driven home by Jacen F's infield single. Will S drove in Jacen with a single of his own, putting the Bears ahead 9-8. Will S then stole second and third to set up the final run of the inning on a Danny H sac fly. Ryan W worked a scoreless 1-2-3 top of the fourth to hold the lead, and the offense got back to work in the bottom of the frame, scoring eight to put the game out of reach. The Bears tallied 18 hits in the game, with seven of the eleven Boyertown batters recording multiple hits. Sam S and Will S led the way, each going 3-3 and Will earning 4 RBI.
The Bears second round playoff opponent was pool play game four foe East End Aviators. This game turned out to be the Bears' biggest test of the tournament, with East End jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the second. The Bears explosive offense was more incremental in this game, first clawing back two in the bottom of the third to narrow the lead to 5-2. The bottom of the Bears order started the scoring, with Danny H dropping a bunt for a single with one out. Alexander F sacrificed him into scoring position, and Ryan W scored him on a line drive single. Austin B completed the scoring with a double to left, plating Ryan. The Bears added a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it 5-3, but then went cold and were unable to score in the fifth. Meanwhile, Sam S, who entered to pitch with one out in the top of the third, shut down the East End offense, holding them to three hits and no runs for the remainder of the game (3 2/3 innings), striking out five. His commendable effort in the intense Maryland heat (temperatures in the low 90s) set the stage for the dramatic come-from-behind victory in the bottom of the sixth. The Bears entered their final at-bats trailing 5-3, having only three outs to mount their comeback. Their chance narrowed after a leadoff strikeout, but they were not deterred. First, Will S worked a one-out walk. Then Owen B stroked a line drive to left center on a 3-2 count to put runners on the corners with one out. Clutch Danny H hit a grounder to third, and Will S beat the throw to pull the Bears within one, 5-4. Smart baserunning by Owen got him to third on the play to put the tying run 60 feet away. Will S stole second on the first pitch to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. What happened next was unexpected but key to the victory. On a 1-1 count, the ball got away from the catcher on an outside pitch. When he recovered the ball, he noticed that Will had strayed from second, nearly half-way to third. The catcher attempted a pick off at second but threw the ball well behind Will, allowing him to steal third and Owen to steal home. This key play not only tied the game but put the winning run on third. The at-bat ended in a strikeout, but the Bears had momentum on their side. Ryan W came to the plate and stroked the game winning walk-off RBI single to left-center. The Bears emerged from the tough battle victorious, 6-5. Ryan W finished the day 2-3 with 2 RBI, including the game winner. Danny H also had a 2-hit day for the Bears.
The finals pitted one-seed Boyertown against two-seed Beast Black, a game that proved to be close until a huge fifth inning. Beast Black scored first, plating two in the top of the third. The Bears got one back in the bottom of the inning when Ryan W hit a one-out single, stole second and third, and scored on an Austin B ground out. Beast Black would add a run in the top of the fifth to make the score 3-1, but then the Boyertown offense awoke. The first eight Boyertown batters reached base before an out was recorded, and that out was on a play at the plate. In fact, the first thirteen batters successfully reached base in the inning for Boyertown. Cole C got the inning started with a lead-off single. Danny H walked to put two on, nobody out. Alexander F then drove in the first Boyertown run of the inning, narrowing the gap to 3-2. Ryan W walked to load the bases. Alert baserunning by Danny H allowed him to tie the game on a wild pitch steal of home. Beast Black intentionally walked Austin B to load the bases, and Sam S drove in the go-ahead run with a line drive to left. In the end, the Bears would score 11 runs in the inning to put the game out of reach. Austin B braved the extreme heat to scatter four runs over five innings on the mound and keep the game close for the offensive explosion that was to come. Liam H came in in relief and held Beast Black to a single run in the top of the sixth to secure the championship.